Posted by: seanmalstrom | June 4, 2009

Note on E3

I haven’t discussed Sony’s E3 performance. The commotion over the motion controls has, naturally, been my attention. This will be done soon.

I haven’t changed my opinion of Microsoft’s conference. The Natal is Microsoft jumping the shark, meaning, from here on out, people expect this ‘tech demo’ to be a reality or else, like Fozie, Microsoft will have jumped the Absurd Horizon that is occupied by hyped products such as Phantom or Duke Nukem Forever. The game industry isn’t like the computer industry that will just believe the Microsoft product is always coming and will blow everything away (see Vista and Longhorn news reports for over half a decade). The game industry is very punishing towards those who do not carry toward their word… no matter who they are. Consider the hostility towards Wright after the constant hyping of Spore. Consider Sony being raked over the coals over the CGI Killzone 2 trailer. If something is announced, it better be followed up on or face the industry’s wrath. What Microsoft is doing is a technique it has performed in the computer industry. It won’t work in the entertainment field as it did so often in the computer field. People are going to realize who Microsoft is.

“OMG!” squealed the press when Microsoft showed this tech demo after a long line of press hits. OMG, years later, it still isn’t released! And it likely never will.

Note how the same lines are used for Surface as they were for Natal. Microsoft must be very fond of its MS Paint program since it has lots of paint in Surface just like in Natal.

Consider the Surface video that was ‘sci-fi’ future. This stupid table with a camera in it, shown in 2007, still hasn’t been released and is stuck in development hell. A few have been given to various outlets for marketing purposes (“Surface table is used in Disneyworld, at CNN news, at… etc.”)

Look! Gaming on the Surface. The Firefly looks very boring. And playing video games via a table got old in 1982. “It will revolutionize the RTS.” Uh, no.

Natal, or Microsoft Phantom as I call it, will never come out as is illustrated or by next year. Not only does it lack content, a price, a purpose, it also lacks a name. E3 is not the place to show off tech demos. GDC, maybe. E3, no, unless you are attempting to create marketing hype for one reason or another.

I’m convinced the purpose of Natal, as I’ve said above, is similar to Surface but also to buy Microsoft time and to attract talent. Microsoft is building a new software studio and needs to attract definite talent. So aside from being a Poker bluff that Microsoft is waving around as if it is holding a stronger hand than it actually has, Microsoft definitely has long term aims at motion control, but it just needs time to get there. Some people have described Natal as a type of Xbox Live Microsoft introduced during the Xbox period to fix up all the rough patches. Then they could integrate Natal with the console that follows Xbox 360. This would not be an unreasonable estimate.

Of course, everyone is assuming there will be a motion control war now. There might be one between Sony and Microsoft. Remember, I’m an advocate for disruption, not motion controls. Motion controls just happen to be a means of disruption at this time period. However, motion controls will rapidly no longer be fresh or entertaining especially with Microsoft and Sony entering the picture.

Mark my words: Nintendo will not go to war with Microsoft and Sony over motion controls. The follow-up console to the Wii will definitely have better motion controls, true, and it will also be high definition, but this is only because of the lowering cost of technology. Aside from disruption, the other main strategy at Nintendo is Blue Ocean Strategy. They will let Microsoft and Sony fight over a red ocean of motion control while Nintendo goes to another Blue Ocean. I expect half a decade before Microsoft and Sony really start putting anything interesting out on motion controls that customers actually want to buy (and can).

What will be Nintendo’s next Blue Ocean? What will Nintendo’s next disruption be years from now? Iwata is turning Nintendo into a Wheel of Disruption who presents one disruption after another. Now, do not confuse disruption with ‘innovation’ or ‘invention’ or ‘revolution’. Disruption doesn’t make things better, it makes things simpler. The successor to the Wii will not be a Wii 2 or a Super Wii. It will offer a new advantage.

-About my ‘odd’ response to the games-

Readers should realize that my gaming habits do not match the hardcore. They do not even match the Nintendo core. I am a member of the Expanded Market. I give reactions to game announcements only because there are no members of the Expanded Market on gaming forums. The best definition for myself would be a classic PC gamer. I respond best to arcade type games and Atari-NES era type games.

When a ‘hardcore’ game appears in a conference, I just ignore it because I’m not interested in it, I know it won’t grow the audience for that console, and 346446 sites are covering it anyway.

One last video for the Surface. This is a parody video. Sounds pretty much right on.

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